Monday, October 4, 2010


“I don’t bake,” is how Crickette responded, her voice flat, brows furled.

I disregarded this, waving my hand as if to wave away such a nonsensical comment. “Everybody bakes,” I informed her, before I twirled away. My lunch break was up and for the past few days, I’d been late back to work after lunch. Needless to say, my boss was becoming less and less lenient about it. “I’ll see you after work!” I called to her in the sing-song voice I knew grated her nerves. As I pushed through the door, my last glance at her included a teasing Chance, laughing and jibing something I couldn’t hear.

Satisfied, I hummed and swung my arms as I crossed the street. The more I worked here, the more I had come to not only appreciate but to really love downtown. It felt like its own town in itself, with the old apartment buildings and the newer apartments and the cafes and the pizzeria and all the fantastic shops and the old buildings and the modern styled buildings and the people. Groups of people trickled down the sidewalk, sidestepping each other as one came in the way of another. Apparently, people came from all over the area – who would have thought it? Not surprisingly, today was gorgeous and therefore, the district bustled with people. Before I went back to Pomegranates, I watched two boys chase each other, weaving around light poles and groups of people, through little families, and I laughed to myself, reminded of a distant memory, of a distant friend existent only within my mind anymore.

I was more than okay with the busy, though. I know for a lot of people, it’s a big deal, because there’s less time for gossip and dancing to the same pop hits repeated over and over on the radio, but I didn’t mind. The more smoothies I made, the closer to home I was. Also helping was probably the fact that I continuously reminded myself that every minute counted towards a larger paycheck. Money is very motivating in itself.

By the time I’d mixed the last of the strawberry banana smoothies, I was the first to untie my apron, beating Mariette Miller to the punch clock for once. Either something was wrong with her brain or I was really on the ball for the day, because Mariette Miller made a point to making it to the punch clock first every shift she worked. But Mariette didn’t have a Crickette buddy more than willing to escape if she didn’t hurry, either.

Purse in hand, I darted across the street, out in front of traffic, shouting and more than likely unheard apology as I leapt over the curb and onto the sidewalk. An old lady with a bulging paper bag side-stepped me and I swung open the door to PWNd, a triumphant grin in place as my eyes found Crickette who was still behind the counter, talking quietly with Chance. When she looked up and spotted me, she sighed heavily, and I laughed.

“How did you get out so fast?” she groaned as Chance parted with her to greet a customer.

I merely grinned, the sort of cat-who-got-the-canary grin and sidled over toward the counter where she stood. “Guess I’m just really excited about cookies,” I told her.

I knew Crickette well enough to know baking cookies wasn’t exactly the sort of pastime she was regular at with Drima and Theo. I also knew well enough Drima was the sort who would refuse to bake cookies and Theo had never considered it. And while maybe Crickette was right and she didn’t bake, that could easily be remedied. Fear of doing something simply because you didn’t do said something was kind of silly, I rationalized, and I wouldn’t let her cop out with such an excuse. Baking itself wasn’t really fun without somebody else and I picked Crickette. She needed to get out and do more things, anyway.

Resigned, Crickette punched out and cast one last withering look towards Chance. He merely offered her a rueful grin and a thumbs up as he followed us out of the chilly store, into the heat of the street. Goosebumps rose on my skin and I ran my hands up and down my arms to attempt to warm them away. Once I was satisfied, I reached for Crickette’s wrist and enclosed it with my own fingers, giving her a tug.

“Tell your little friend good-bye, Beetle Bug, we’re on a mission!” I instructed, before I started across the street, dragging a flailing Crickette behind me.

She protested, squeaked, and stumbled her way with me, while Chance’s voice called after us. “Have fun, Lady Bird! Don’t be too mean, Karma!”

I laughed to myself.

Mean. Hah.


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